Today’s Moabites: Who Are They?

The ancient country of Moab was situated within what is now Jordan. Jordanians are the descendants of Moab who have continued to live in the same region as their ancestors. Politicians may have modified historic boundaries and names given to historic sites in the Middle East, but the forebears of the people who now call those places home cannot be changed.

The Moabites were the offspring of Lot, Abraham’s nephew, who was expelled from Sodom along with his two daughters before the city’s abrupt destruction (Genesis 19). According to the Old Testament narrative, Lot and his daughters immediately settled in caves after fleeing.

The two young women planned to repopulate the planet since they thought that the fiery destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah had probably occurred everywhere. They both gave birth to sons after getting their father inebriated and sleeping with him in order to get pregnant and carry on the family tradition. The baby boy was given the name Moab by the older sister, and he later became the moabite people’s father.

The “field of Moab” (bounded by natural defences), “the country of Moab” (an open territory from Arnon north to Gilead), and “the plains of Moab” (located in the subtropical depths of the Jordan River valley) are the names given to the region that was home to the Moabites.

Misha Khatri
Misha Khatri is an emeritus professor in the University of Notre Dame's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He graduated from Northern Illinois University with a BSc in Chemistry and Mathematics and a PhD in Physical Analytical Chemistry from the University of Utah.

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